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Gjergi Luke Juncaj Wiki
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Gjergi Luke Juncaj, 50, of Las Vegas, was arrested Wednesday and appeared in federal court in Nevada Thursday on four counts of making threatening phone calls, the Justice Department said in a statement. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison on each count.
The Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force was announced last June, shortly after Reuters published the first in a series of investigative reports that have documented more than 850 threats and threatening messages to US election workers. Federal.
Almost all of the threats have been inspired by Trump’s relentless false claims that the 2020 vote was “rigged” against him, Reuters found.
Justice Department officials say they are now investigating dozens of similar cases. The task force disclosed its first arrest on Jan. 21, when it accused a Texas man of making violent threats against Georgia government and election officials. Prosecutors accused Chad Christopher Stark of posting a message on Craigslist on January 5, 2021 titled “Georgia Patriots time to kill.” Reuters was unable to reach Stark, who is set to appear in court on February 4.
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Juncaj’s threats against Staci McElyea, a worker at the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office, were first revealed in a Reuters investigation published on September 8. The story details how Juncaj repeatedly told McElyea that she and her colleagues would be killed, according to her documentation. of the calls, which were made on January 7, 2021.
After the threats, McElyea, a former US Marine, called the Nevada Capitol Patrol and sent a transcript of the calls to the state police agency, Reuters previously reported. An officer contacted the man, whom police would later identify as Juncaj.
ollowing the Reuters story, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation into Juncaj, according to a Nevada state government source.
The indictment is the second case from the task force and the third federal charge known overall for threatening poll workers since the 2020 vote. In December 2020, federal prosecutors charged a New Hampshire woman with threatening an official from Michigan.
Federal authorities are also investigating an unnamed man who threatened Vermont officials, local law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters. That man’s threats appeared in a Reuters investigation in November. In response to that report, Vermont lawmakers are considering new legislation to make it easier to prosecute people who threaten election officials.
“Election officials across the country are being threatened and harassed, and those who engage in this domestic terrorism must be held accountable,” said David Becker, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Election Research and Innovation.
Despite multiple threatening calls from Juncaj, state police decided not to charge Juncaj, Reuters found. State detectives concluded that Juncaj’s threats were “protected” political speech and not criminal, because the suspect simply said that he “wished” the poll workers dead, according to a summary of the case.
Juncaj could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday. He told Reuters in an interview for the September report that he “didn’t threaten anyone.”